Planning 102 session reveals long-term campus construction plans
Update, Sunday: Todd Olson explained the University’s reasoning for building’s not containing apartment style-housing. “If you look back at the story that you reference, you’ll note that the plan at that time was focused first on Leavey (the hotel space) – where I noted that the idea would be suite-style rooms. As we’re not pursuing that project now, we plan to build a number of suite-style beds – in this Northeast Triangle building, and perhaps some of the other new space,” he wrote in an email to Vox. “The overall plan was, and is, a mix of suite-style and apartment beds. This first round will focus on suite-style beds.”
Update, 3:36 pm: According to an email from Gregory Janks, the planning assumption for the “Northeast triangle” structure has been for semi-suites, that is “bedrooms with a common lounge and bathroom space.” The bed estimates for the new structures are based on this assumption. No plans are final in any sense, but University administrators have previously said new construction would focus on apartments.
Original Post: On Tuesday, members of University Facilities and Student Housing (UFSH) outlined a suite of changes, expected to occur over the next few years, which will include new on-campus undergraduate housing, altered GUTS routes, and the addition of the New South Student Center.
Vice President of Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey explained the three principal steps UFSH took in devising the planned changes. First of all, UFSH is constrained by the requirements imposed on them by the campus plan agreement, primarily Georgetown’s commitment to housing 90 percent of its undergraduates on campus by fall 2025. Secondly, UFSH considered its options for growth and development in light of its requirements. And, finally, UFSH chose its preferred options on the basis of further engendering a “living, learning community at Georgetown,” as Morey termed it.
At this point, Morey turned the presentation over to Gregory Janks, director of Sasaki Strategies, the Boston-based firm responsible for the construction planning on campus. Janks provided a detailed description of how the new housing site was selected. “The zoning commission is very precise on the number of students we need to accommodate on campus,” he said. That number is 450 additional students who must live on campus, which will require at least two new student housing locations.
Where to put the beds (Hint: As far from the neighbors as possible)
Janks evaluated possible housing locations in terms of how well they would fit in with current patterns of campus life. The pedestrian thoroughfares, for example, are important when it comes to creating vibrant housing in an accessible area. Janks highlighted three of these pathways as good places on which to place future student housing: the walk from Burlieth past Darnall and Reiss to the main gate area, the pathway connecting LXR to Leo’s, and the walk from Leo’s between Regents and ICC to the Darnall/Henle area.
“We have seven very solid options that would not only let us meet but, actually, far exceed our long-term goal of 700 students,” Janks said. “Any two of these would likely get us to our immediate goal of 450 students.” Out of these seven leading site candidates for new housing, two clear favorites emerge. First, Janks identified “the Northeast triangle,” that patch of hilly grass across from the second floor entrance to Reiss.
“The ability to get more life and an active ground floor on that site, given the major pedestrian activity, is something that’s very exciting for us,” Janks said. According to Janks, the plan for a building on that site includes a very open ground floor, with large, glass windows. Additionally, the building there would not be taller than Reiss and likely would have an outdoor patio on the southern side of the space.
“The second option that is worth thinking about is a reuse or a demolition of the existing Kober-Cogan facility,” Janks said. Aside from the fact that Medstar, not the University, owns the Kober-Cogan building, the building is also out of use due to the presence of dangerous mold.
Janks estimates that the Northeast triangle facility could hold 170 beds, while the Cober-Kogan facility could hold 230 beds.
Mold or not, Janks believes that these two sites in the north of campus show the greatest promise and were selected over other sites due to their closer proximity to existing centers of campus life. Although the Leavey Center leaves more to be desired, as Janks acknowledges. “Obviously, the Leavey Center presents a tremendous resource, but we would … politely suggest that the building isn’t functioning at its maximum possible benefit to the institution today,” he said, providing no details as of yet as to what may be done with the Leavey Center.
More surveys, ???, Profit!
Janks stressed that these new housing sites are just the first of many intended changes to Georgetown’s campus. The vital tool that UFSH will use to decide on further changes is the newly-developed MyCampus survey, which was used at Brown University last month.
MyCampus functions, essentially, as a highly detailed Google map. Users scroll over a map of their campus, dropping location markers for study and eating areas and commuting pathways, among other things. MyCampus also collects information about each user, such as their year and major area of study.
UFSH plans to launch MyCampus for Georgetown on Apr. 15 and will be releasing more information about it to students in the coming weeks.
Additional reporting by Connor Jones
Photo: Ryan Greene/Georgetown Voice